Friday on My Mind: Back to School

It’s time again for the weekly installment of Friday on My Mind. This blog post takes a look at videos focused on a different subject every week. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News. The 2012 School year started up again here in Seattle this past Wednesday. Unfortunately, any teachers or students who looked outside their windows over the last few days saw that Summer in Seattle was far from over. So for this week we’re paying tribute to with some of the best songs about the school, teachers, and playgrounds. Before we take a look, here are a few fun facts to ponder about our nation’s schools.

In August 2009, 7.2 billion dollars were spent at kid’s retail stores throughout the country. During that same year 14.2 million computers could be found in classrooms, which breaks down to 1 in 4 students that have access to computers. If we were to take just a few billion of those dollars spent on retail items such as clothes... well, you get the point. 56 million students are enrolled in the nation’s elementary and high schools this year, which tops the 51.6 million students who were enrolled during the baby boom era. Let us all hope that this younger generation does a better job with the Earth. There are 7.2 million teachers working hard out there, along with another 1.1 million kids who are homeschooled, which means about another 1.1 million parents who are really really busy.

And now, a few videos and songs to help ease you all into the new school year:

The Ramones - Rock & Roll High School (as performed on Old Grey Whistle Test):

From the film of the same name. The 1979 movie included The Ramones and revolved around a plot about a teenage girl trying to meet The Ramones, but having her efforts constantly squashed by an evil principal. It’s B-movie goodness at it’s finest. Check out this video of The Ramones performing the song on Old Grey Whistle Test.

The Police - Don’t Stand So Close to Me

The first single from the 1980 album Zenyattà Mondatta. This song is The Police at the top of their game. The band’s ability to incorporate reggae inspired rhythm into a mainstream pop song can not be beat. The official video perfectly captures the punk spirit of The Police in their prime of their career.

Paul Simon - Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard

Originally released in 1972 of Paul Simon’s self-titled second solo album. The official music video was actually created 16 years after the original release of the song in promotion of a Paul Simon greatest hits collection. The video depicts Simon playing baseball and basketball with children in an inner-city schoolyard. Cameos are made by Spud Webb, John Madden, and the one and only Mickey Mantle who can be seen lip synching the lyrics. Paul Simon’s label mates, Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane are featured at the very beginning free styling an intro into the song.

Honorable Mentions:

Lulu - To Sir, With Love (Performed during the Ed Sullivan Show the 1967):

During her career, Lulu has hosted her own variety show, was married to a Bee Gee, and even recorded an album at the Muscle Shoals studios. But the Scottish singer was best known in the US for singing the title song to the movie To Sir with Love.

Suicidal Tendencies - Institutionalized

From 1983. All I wanted was a Pepsi.

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